Nancy Pelosi

, who arrived in Yerevan on September 17, is the highest-ranking US official to visit Armenia since the country gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Ahead of a scheduled meeting with Prime Minister

Nikol Pashinyan,

Pelosi laid flowers at a monument on top of Yerevan Hill on September 18 in honor of the nearly 1.5 million Armenians who died as a result of the violence orchestrated by the Ottoman Turks during World War I.

A growing number of historians are classifying these killings as genocide.

In 2019, the US Congress unanimously adopted a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide by the Turks.

In April 2021, US President

Joe Biden

also officially declared those murders genocide.

"From the United States to Ukraine to Taiwan to Armenia, the world faces a choice between democracy and authoritarian governments, and we must choose democracy again," Pelosi said ahead of her visit.

The remarks were a reference to other trips she had made in recent months.

In May, she went to Kyiv to meet with the President of Ukraine,

Volodymyr Zelensky

, against the backdrop of his country's ongoing war with Russia.

She visited Taiwan last month, a trip that was angrily condemned by China, which views the island nation as its own province and has vowed to reunite it with mainland China.

Pelosi is from California, home to one of the largest Armenian communities in the United States.

She was accompanied on the trip by state representatives

Jackie Speier


Anna Eshu

, both of Armenian descent.

Pelosi's visit comes days after the worst period of violence in two years between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which has left more than 200 people dead on both sides.

In the latest flare-up of violence, the two countries exchanged artillery and mortar fire across their shared border, while Azerbaijani forces struck targets inside Armenia itself.

Russia, which maintains ties with both countries and tries to play a "moderating" role, agreed to a ceasefire shortly after the fighting began.


Moscow announced an early end to the conflict, and the clashes soon continued.

The government of Azerbaijan has not yet made a public statement regarding Pelosi's visit to Yerevan.